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>> donald critchlow, are conservatives still in the ascendancy? >> you probably have heard about this. i think this is the worst time for conservatives at least since watergate. and i think may be compared the republicans in the new deal. so they are in a very tough straits right now. >> so as a conservative, what is your prescription to get out of that rut? >> no, one thing i discussed in the conservative ascendancy is the fortunes of conservatives and the republican party.
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and what we learn is that every time the left and progressives, primarily within the democratic party are counting out the conservatives, they always come roaring back. off and threw misfortune of democrats. i don't think conservatives should give up hope. they still do have opportunities. when you hear the term modern conservative movement, what do you think and who do you think of? well, i think it's a movement that is really quite diverse within its own grouping, and i think there are a number of countries within the conservative movement and within conservatives with social conservatives, free market conservatives. and i also think that there is tensions within purists among
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the conservatives, and people who are active within the republican party who want to understand that they -- that conservatives more to win elections need to be pragmatic and compromise on certain issues and principal ways. >> who do you think is the voice of the conservative movement today? >> will, i think i was suggesting that right now there isn't a voice and i think it shows some of the problems within the republican party that rush limbaugh now has become the voice. of course, that was strategy by obama, the obama administration to focus on rush limbaugh, who while he has many fans also has many people who don't like rush limbaugh or so i think right now
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there is a fight within the republican party to find its leadership. i think that would be very decisive and important election for republicans. at this point i don't think they can regain control of congress. but if they lose badly in 2010 will see a push within the republican party to turn more moderate. >> the conservative ascendancy came out of 2007. and now you have a new book out. it is cowritten with nancy maclean, the american conservative movement, 1945 to the president. first of all, why did you start in 1945? >> i think modern conservatism really emerges that appeared to have been conservatives before the second world war. it is primarily a modern
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movement. so that's why we began in 1945. >> but why, what happened in 1945? >> i think primarily the emergence of the communist issue and the cold war. i think it really gave the conservative movement impetus. and it was coming together of intellectual forces a number of european émigre intellectuals and others as well as people such as william buckley who gave an intellectual coherence. and that was combined with the large grassroots anti-communist movement. and those two forces came together that would revitalize the conservative movement and eventually gain power within republican party. >> your first book is on phyllis
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schlafly. when did this come out and is phyllis schlafly still a force in the conservative movement? >> yes. that book came out i think in 2005. and she is still a force within the republican party and within the conservative movement. she reflects social conservative voice within the conservative movement around issues such as abortion and gay rights, and those issues that appeal to primarily traditional catholics and evangelical christians and mormons, as well as traditional jews. >> there are a couple of books now on the market regarding the reagan legacy. and perhaps a reinterpretation of the reagan legacy. is ronald reagan's legacy on the decline? >> not among conservatives.
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i think he is writing as high as franklin roosevelt did in 1948 or after his death. i think ronald reagan's presidency has always been contested widely among historians. there was -- the picture of ronald reagan of a man not very smart, sleepwalking through history was challenged i historians, some very good ones, and we learned that ronald reagan was very well read. and also had principles. strong ideological principles. and that he was in control of his administration. he was a detail band that was able to articulate basic concerns of the republican right, and that is low taxes, stimulation dish stimulating the economy, and confronting the
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soviet union which had undergone a massive arms buildup. >> in your view, did george w. bush contribute to the decline of the american conservative movement? >> will, there is a strong sediment that he did within conservatives. i do think that the war in iraq, while george bush thought it was a principled action, really caused a great consternation among suffering of the right. and i also think the republicans having gained control of congress in 2004, and being spendthrifts really helped cause a reaction as well. it's easy to forget that bush won a pretty decisive victory in
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2004, so the down slide in the fortunes of the republican party were pretty severe, as you look at 2006 at the midterm elections in 2006 and the last election in 2008, presidential election. >> we are speaking with you here at the organization of american historians annual gathering. as a conservative, are you in the minority as a historian? >> i think i am very decided minority. i think minority exaggerates the number of conservatives here at this meeting. i should tell you that i started off on the left. and i got my union card, phd at university of california. they can expel me now, so maybe
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some would like to but i am here. >> do you feel a reaction? to you. >> no, i think people respect me. i think a lot of number of historians, how eccentric i am to a conservative in this day and age, and especially within the historical profession. >> why did you start on the left and now you are on the right? >> well, that change was kind of a long change. it was very -- in fact, i think it's difficult for historians to declare themselves republicans or conservative. you are a general mills view of people that are on the left, usually on the left of the democratic party. so i remember i was in poland for a year-long teaching
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program, the election of 1998 was occurring. and i want to vote at the embassy. and they gave us ballads and i was filling them out next to my wife, who is a strong democrat at that point. and i said, i think i'm going to vote for george w. bush. >> george h. w. bush. >> thanks for correcting me. and she said if you do i'm going to go back and tell everybody at the university of notre dame where i was a professor there of republicans, i ended up, i won't tell you how i voted because i don't want to get in trouble with my wife. i think there were a number of things that were changing and how i viewed the world. and i think being in poland in 1989 was a major turning point for me being under a socialist
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system at that point. >> you have written three books. do you have another when you're working on right now? >> yes, you. >> on? >> if a book on when hollywood was right, how the hollywood right change the republican party. stick with and talking with donald critchlow was a professor at saint louis university and the author of three books. this is his most recent, the american conservative movement, 1945 to the present, cowritten with nancy mcclung. >> thank you.
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>> this summer the tv is asking what are you reading? >> as the author of a new book, about how congress really works it is called "the waxman report," i hope people could read the book it is a nonfiction book, and i tend to read nonfiction rather than fiction, although sometimes i escape to a novel here and there. some of the books that i am listening station i listen to books rather than read them, and i am listening to tom ricks is book, the sequel to a fiasco which was a fabless book. i just finished a book "the inheritance" about all the foreign policy problems this administration is inheriting, and i'm looking forward to a book by michael warned about the involvement of the united states in the middle east. i listen to his first book about the "six days of war" and i highly recommend that book. it told me things that even though i lived through the time of the six-day war of israel
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against its neighbors, there were things i just didn't really know had happened behind the scenes. that's what i thought that book was worthwhile. and i think that's one by book is one that people ought to listen to, or read. because it tells you things that you think you know about but really don't know the full story of what the discussions were and what the controversies and the trade-offs to produce legislation. people usually hear about the skins. they hear about the ineptness of government. people have been poisoned for a very long time since president reagan said government is a problem, not the solution. that thinking government can do nothing right. but government can do and must do things that affect positively millions of americans. and i tried to show how bills that i thought for, many of them are very controversial, or so
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successful. and i believe that the kinds of changes that we are now working on in congress, under the guidance and leadership of president obama, to reform our energy, to deal with health care and to make it affordable to all americans, and to hold down the costs so that we can balance our budgets. because the biggest cost we have in health care are under medicare and medicaid. we had to bend at that cost curve so we can hold down the deficit and make sure we have a more rational system. government can be a force for good. government has been a force for good. and i try to point out how congress often does the right thing, that you don't hear about because you're always hearing about the negative side of things. >> to see more summer reading lists and other program information, visit our website at

Book TV
CSPAN August 15, 2009 1:45pm-2:00pm EDT

Donald Critchlow Education. (2007) Donald Critchlow ('The Conservative Ascendancy').

TOPIC FREQUENCY Ronald Reagan 3, Obama 2, Donald Critchlow 2, Poland 2, Phyllis Schlafly 2, George W. Bush 2, Fiction 1, Us 1, Israel 1, United States 1, Phd 1, Obama Administration 1, University Of California 1, Iraq 1, George Bush 1, Reagan 1, Mcclung 1, H. W. Bush 1, Tom Ricks 1, Limbaugh 1
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